Mercy rule. Shut out. Grand slam. These are all terms a great softball team experiences but usually not at the WPIAL championships. The undefeated Lady Wolverines only needed four and a half innings to defeat South Park 10-0 and claim the Class AA WPIAL title.
The game on Friday at California University was originally scheduled for Thursday but delayed due to rain. Meanwhile, Ellwood’s three seniors, Allie McKelvey, Kayla Murin and Mallory Swogger, went through Lincoln’s commencement on Thursday anticipating the next day’s game.
Ellwood suffered a setback in the first inning when McKelvey sprained her ankle after beating out a bunt in the first inning. How much she’ll be able to participate in the next few games will be a day to day call.
Later in the inning, with bases loaded and two outs, sophomore Reagan Mittler hit a grand slam, bringing the score to 4-0.
In the second inning, freshman Ariana Garroway hit a triple, driving a runner home. Junior Camille Maine stepped up to the plate with two runners on base and hit another home run, bringing the score to 8-0.
South Park started with pitcher Angela Shine for one courtesy pitch before rotating in Justine Dean. However, Mittler’s and Maine’s home runs resulted in Shine’s return.
Against Shine’s pitching, Ellwood scored two runs on an error in the third. They’d be the last runs of the game.
Ellwood’s pitcher, junior Skyla Greco, pitched her seventh shut out of the season, throwing five strikeouts and allowing only three hits. South Park had averaged 11 hits per game.
In the bottom of the fifth, the game ended via the mercy rule. It is head coach Gary Rozanski’s second WPIAL win; the first was in 2008. He was an assistant coach when Ellwood was the runner up in 2005.
Armed with WPIAL medals, the Lady Wolverines have another goal: advance past the second round of the PIAA playoffs. In 2005 and 2008, Ellwood won the first round and lost the second.
“We are focusing more on the mental and emotional part of the game the last couple of days,” Rozanski said. “The girls are excited and are looking to keep going. They want to continue the success they are having.”
With little rest for the victorious, Ellwood is back on the field today at 2 p.m. playing Bald Eagle Area High School at North Allegheny.
All photos submitted. Updated 10:40 with information from coach Rozanski.